This recap contains spoilers for Tower of God episode “Underwater Hunt Part 1”.
Disclaimer: Pre-release screening and screenshot materials for this recap were provided for GGA by Crunchyroll.
“Underwater Hunt Part 1” is an interesting episode. It’s the first half of a two-parter, for one. For another, much of what happens here is either setup or rather grim. (Or both). Without further delay, let’s dive right into Bam’s last test of the season.
The great sea serpent creature that Bam first saw when learning how to use shinsu is identified as The Administrator here. “Underwater Hunt Part 1” is only the second time we’ve seen this character, and it’s again only for a few seconds, but he certainly does make an impression.
Bam and Rachel’s test actually appears rather straightforward. For the duration of “Underwater Hunt Part 1”, they’re placed in a vast, ocean-like area. Here, schools of creatures called “net dolphins” (which look more like seals) hunt fish using shinsu magic to create nets, which they use to catch fish and take them to their colony queen. Bam and Rachel are placed in a shinsu bubble in the center of this area.
Their goal in “Underwater Hunt Part 1” is simple: to be delivered to the net dolphin queen along with the fish. If they can do that, they pass. Complicating matters is that the area is host to a whole ecosystem.
Barnacle goblins are small humanoid creatures with giant worm pets that like to steal the fish the net dolphins hunt. Earth Pigs are land-based predators that attempt to eat the dolphins and scare them off. Finally, there’s “the Bull”, a megamouthed monster that is said to scare even experienced Rankers. It rather looks like a landbound shark crossed with a salamander, or perhaps a lizard-man.
By The Horns
The pair’s allies–Rak, Khun, and the rest–can aid them, but since none of them are exactly aquatic, they’re stuck to doing so from the coast. There’s a lot of great character squeezed in to the forehalf of this scene. Khun supervises from his lighthouse. Shibisu ends up running into the Bull, which eats second-stringer Dede without a thought. Only to be saved by Anaak and Endorsi (who compete with each other as much as they help each other. They even lay down a bet at one point.) Meanwhile, Rachel and Bam converse in their bubble in the ocean, far below the action. There is one brief reveal here, but it’s an important one. The diminutive blonde intermittently seen throughout the series is formally introduced here. Khun points out that she’s something called an “Anima”, who can control certain kinds of animals.
This is almost immediately relevant.
Ren, the sheeplike Ranker / agent of Jahand we met last episode, turns out to be the one controlling the wildlife. The entire test, top to bottom, was engineered to dispose of stray elements. Anaak, the missing Monthly swords, Bam himself, etc.
There’s no explicit confirmation that Yu is behind this, but it seems likely.
“Underwater Hunt Part 1″‘s entire back half is harrowing. Endorsi and Anaak end up separated. The former crushed into unconsciousness by The Bull. The latter ambushed by Ren himself, stabbed through the gut, and taunted about her heritage. Hoh’s death was the first in the series, but it seems wholly likely that it won’t be the last. The goblins begin attacking, too, the net result is total chaos on the surface and in the cave system just beneath it.
Bam and Rachel, meanwhile, sit in their literal bubble beneath the ocean. There’s a palpable sense of obliviousness about to be burst. The two have a good talk in “Underwater Hunt Part 1”, but things are closing in quickly.
It remains to be seen if there will be a way out for our heroes. There is the possibility that Yuri’s crew will help, somehow. They do in fact show up once again briefly in this episode, long enough for Yuri herself to mention “entering the test area unnoticed”.
Still, things look rather dire in “Underwater Hunt Part 1” and next week is the finale. We are left waiting with bated breath.
Until next time, Tower of God fans.